Sony’s E3 2017 Conference Format Was Perfect

A typical E3 conference consists of multiple people taking the stage, with long applauses for each person, and a generally long description from the developers either before a game trailer or during it. At its absolute worst a publisher, or console maker, will think it’s a great idea to bring out an eSports shoutcaster…. It’s not a good idea. At all.

I don’t mind this entirely if it is needed, but Sony changed things. Instead of spending time talking about the games during their conference they instead are did it before the conference, and are doing it after the conference. What they did during the conference was simply showcase trailer after trailer of games. Of course they had enough content to fill an entire hour long show, but it was amazing.

Then it made me realize. We don’t necessarily need a developer telling us about a game just as it’s being shown. Instead this let us see a whole bunch of games, and then when we see something we like we can look at an E3 schedule to see when we can learn more about it. No need to rush a developer into a 5 minute slot to quickly explain their title. Instead give them 15+ minutes to talk about everything they want to talk about.

At every E3 it is the after interviews where information and good gameplay is shown. It isn’t during the conferences. During the conferences is simply when people get excited seeing it. In the after show is when journalists get a chance to sit down with developers and ask questions. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo also host live panels with each game that is shown where they ask questions and show further gameplay. This is when we learn a lot about the game and by simply showing a trailer at the conference, you are putting more eyes on these events.

E3, years ago, the opening event was a “press conference,” but over the years it has become an “E3 Briefing” and it has changed for a reason. Instead of simply shoving information at the journalists sitting in the crowd, we now have fans from all over the world watching. They want to see new games and don’t really care about the core mechanics of how a game was made. Many people will see Days Gone and say wow that looks awesome, while others might be more excited for a game like Moss. By cutting out the in-between chatter they could show more of everything.

This new formula was dang near perfect for journalists too. We were watching the trailer on their screen, while we were also being sent press releases from the companies showing it. Activision was doing a grand job by sending us information right when their new trailers were debuting. Sony also knew when to turn on the visual appeal by opening the conference with a very dramatic live sequence that was astonishing to watch, it really added to the epic feel of the entire event.

There might be a need in the future to talk about a new console, but they could still learn from this. A quick reveal, a quick layout of features, and then a time slot of when to return to learn more. I was honestly afraid going into the Sony conference because I didn’t want to sit through a boring PS VR presentation, or PS4 Pro. Luckily the PS4 Pro advertisement was during the pre-show so we could pretty much skip it, and PS VR is being talked about at other events at E3.

Sony also is very good at hosting their own events. With PlayStation Experience now becoming a yearly event they have plenty of other opportunities to talk about new announcements. The nice thing about this years E3 was that they stuck to games within a year timeslot. There wasn’t dramatic new reveals for games that are still years out.

Overall if conferences were more precise and to the point of games I think a lot of people would be more pleased. During the conference I sat through the pre-show with someone and she said the pre-show was so boring she fell asleep, but she was excited and smiling during the actual show. That says a lot about the format.